Hazelwood has yet to make final decision on high school schedule changes


English students from multiple classes work together in the commons on a joint writing project. Activities like this might be impacted by a change in the schedule that shortens classes.

Alona Williams, Special to Hawk Talk

Hazelwood Central High School has not made an official decision on schedule changes for the 2019-2020 school year.

There have been previous meetings and committees met to discuss changing the schedule to shorter periods instead of having 90 minute classes.

“In previous years we discussed it, so last year we discussed it and I have not had any follow ups since the end of last year,” said Cliff Brandon, the associate principal for Hazelwood Central HIgh School.

According to Mr.Brandon, Central office puts together the committee where they then study the different options. Then staff and stakeholders are brought in to look at those different options.

“The last meeting was at the end of last year that they looked at two that they favored, and then those have to go to the superintendent and the board and that’s kind of the process,” said Mr. Brandon.

Teachers seem to disagree on whether or not class periods should stay at 90 mins or become shorter.

“I like 90 minutes because you don’t feel rushed to get something done. With 45 minute classes you would kind of just get everybody settled and you would just barely have time to get things done. It’s less pressure to get everything done all in one day and it makes more college-type classes,” said Mrs. Mulligan, an elective teacher at Hazelwood Central High School.

Other teachers think they should be shorter for their sake and even students sake.

“Honestly most of the time I feel like it’s too much time and we get through the 90 minutes of class I planned out in less than 90 minutes and I have to come up with things to do towards the end of the class to keep them in their seats and just to keep the management of the room under control,” said Ms. Jamerson a 9th and 10th grade English teacher at Hazelwood Central High School.

Being in one place for too long and students having to sit for that amount of time just listening to a teacher is not a good situation for them or the teacher.

“I think just the attention span of students and myself is not that long and to have to sit for 90 minutes or just to be in one space for 90 minutes is just a lot,” said Ms. Jamerson

When students actually have some work to do, 90 minutes classes seems like enough time to get that done but when students finish their work in less than those 90 minutes, some say is nothing for them to do.

“I think 90 minute classes are too long and it’s not the teachers because I think they teach a good lesson for a good amount of time and then us students are sometimes left to do nothing for the remaining of the time once we get done with the work we are given. There’s too much free time at the end of classes,” said Sjan Li Whitaker, a senior at Hazelwood Central High School.

However, the schedule can’t just be changed because of a few people saying it’s too long. According to Mr. Brandon there are a lot more factors and work to do in order to even consider changing it.

“We look at ‘are we still able to get the students the credits they need to graduate?’ ‘are we still providing them with opportunities to receive instructions outside of the classroom here in school during the regular school day?’, we also look at the number of educational minutes we can provide by changing the schedule, we look at ‘do we lose a program such as AML?’, those are just some of the factors we look into,” said Mr. Brandon.

The work that would have to be done by teachers and other staff would take some time as well.

“We also are looking at ‘do we have adequate training for our staff if there is a change in the time periods?’ for example, if you went from a 90 minute class to a 50 minute class what supports do we need to give our staff in order to make that work out? We also have situations with the teacher’s planning time because that could change as well,” said Mr. Brandon.

The associate principles, Mr.Brandon from Hazelwood Central, one from East, and one from West are the ones who actually have to find time out of their busy schedules at their own schools to sit down and discuss all these different factors in changing the schedule.

“We plan the classes for the following year based on student request. The biggest piece for us is we would need to get together and sit down and look at the ramifications of building a schedule like this and that is the biggest piece,” said Mr.Brandon.

Really it seems like this whole process takes a lot if time from busy people. Time is really what is keeping a decision from being made.

“That is the biggest hurdle,” said Mr.Brandon